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Written works from VOC Nation contributors.

AS I SEE IT 5/7: So how was YOUR weekend?

So…how was YOUR weekend?

I spent mine at Virtua Hospital in Marlton, NJ. I went in
because I had what turned out to be a hernia, expecting to
have something done to help that, either Friday or have
something scheduled. Instead, I would up stuck there in for
the weekend, however, because my sodium levels were major
out of whack (low). Switching off a BP medication thay
apparently vacuums out sodium WAY too much to Lasix and
adding protein (I’m now officially an old fart as they have
me on Ensure) seemed to help, but I’m also stuck with
ridiculous fluid restrictions for 2-3 weeks to get them back
the rest of the way.

For a lot, that wouldn’t sound like much. But I have to add
something else. During my stay I was not then or now happy
in the least at the way that some nurses, doctors and other
professionals communicate with patients at Virtua Marlton,
or rather don’t communicate, cause undue worry and upset and
inconvenience patients and family members. From a nurse
suggesting a possible draconian after care plan to an
outside surgeon no-showing a hospital exam (seems to be a
frequent phrase coming up in my various real and wrestling
lives, yes?) after being told all day they were to be here;
then receiving no word what was going on, then when it was
obvious that no one was coming, giving specific instructions
to make clear not to bother coming until the next day, then
showing up at 9:30 pm after my brother went home…all the
way to a discharge doctor who didnt bother examining me
trying to make arrangements that bore no resemblance to my
actual post-hospital needs….I am totally pissed at this
facility. Maybe others are used to experiences like this.
I’m not.

Being my first time as a patient ever I find most of this
inexcusable, because it does little or nothing to help
patient care…or even make a profit (I’m still waiting for
the bill for all this, which will be an entirely different
and just as unpleasant experience, I’m fairly sure). The
medicine side of medicine needs to learn that communication
is a major part of caring for a patient (and making a profit
too). It isn’t a matter of giving answers patients or family
want to hear. Far too many times in real life, sadly, that
isn’t possible. But to communicate, to be real, and try to
comfort and be polite….those things ARE possible, and
very, very necessary. I hope Virtua starts really soon,
because I found this a continuation of what had happened
nearly five years ago when my late Mother was in the
hospital for what became her last illness. Same behavior,
same feeling when it happened.

Keep me in your thoughts, prayers until I get in the other
side of all this, please. Back to wrestling next week.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

AS I SEE IT 4/29: RAW is 4/20, bad WWE news, and remembering Chris

I watched RAW last Monday, and thought it was 4-20 all over
again.

WWE fixed… somewhat… the previous week’s fiasco by re-
renaming War Raiders from being a new ride at Six Flags
Great Adventure to… I think finally… Viking Raiders. I
thought…OK, maybe WWE heard people screaming how stupid
the first renaming was.

Then the edibles, or rather, viewables… kick in and I see
cult leader and “Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt as a kid’s show
host of “Firefly’s Playhouse”. I sat there with my mouth
open as a bizarre skit ran on my TV screen, worthy of 1980’s
WWF television. Yes, there are some signs that the new
gimmick may be a lot darker than a simple kid’s show host,
especially when he came out with a chain saw at the end, and
with Hurt and Heal on gloves. There’s word that some
advertisers and stockholders were putting pressure on WWE to
kill, but Vince McMahon has chosen to go ahead with it, re-
showing it the next night on Smackdown and airing it to the
live crowd as well.

We also had Cedric Alexander jobbing to Cesaro (inexplicably
moved from Smackdown to RAW as part of a “trade” involving
Cesaro and Samoa Joe coming to RAW “in return for” Andrade,
Zelina Vega, and Alistair Black going to Smackdown,
allegedly because FOX wants Latin talent on Smackdown), and
Ricochet going down to “Robert” Roode. It was beginning to
look like “WWE thumbs its nose at the Internet” night..and
then it looked like Baron Corbin was going to go over AJ
Styles in the main event to top it all. Fortunately, that
one didn’t happen at least. But I really felt by 11:00 pm
that night that someone had snuck THC in my dinner
rotisserie chicken.

Then, WWE issued rather disappointing First Quarter earning
results late last week, which in part included the drop in
TV ratings I talked about in last week’s blog. In a
laughable response to those who questioned the negative
results, Vince McMahon attempted to blaming the numbers on
“talent absences”, presumably using John Cena doing movies
or Roman Reigns fighting leukemia as an excuse.

As mentioned in many locations (including last week’s blog)
RAW is down 14 percent in the first quarter and Smackdown 13
percent in viewership, versus average cable television drop
in a comparable period of nearly 5 percent. RAW hasn’t hit 3
million viewers since August 2018 or Smackdown hit 2.5
million viewer mark since October 2018. First quarter
attendance at WWE live events in North America declined 11
percent, with a corresponding 11 percent decrease in
merchandising sales both on WWE Shop and at live events.

Stock prices responded accordingly that day, dropping 14
percent on the date of the announcement from $98 to $84 per
share.

In the live call, McMahon refused to discuss the Saudi shows
when asked, which are now scheduled for June and November
(resulting in the cancellation of a June PPV and a NXT
Takeover) This might be why he didn’t want to: The New York
Daily News reported the following last week:

“A Saudi man who was arrested seven years ago as he was
getting ready to board a plane to America was beheaded by
the government Tuesday, the official press agency said. He
was among the 37 individuals who were executed…, according
to the Saudi Press Agency. [he] was 17 when he was detained
at King Fahd International Airport in 2012….he was to
begin school at Western Michigan University. He had
allegedly attended a pro-democracy rally in the midst of the
Arab Spring, prompting his arrest, and was later charged
with armed disobedience against the king….He was allegedly
convicted after being severely beaten during his time in
custody.

Of the 37 individuals [executed], most were minority Shiite
Muslims and at least three were minors. The kingdom is on
track to execute more than 300 people this year, the
international human rights organization Reprieve wrote on
Twitter.

“This is another egregious display of brutality by Crown
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman,” Reprieve Director Maya Foa said
in a statement. “That the Saudi regime believes it has
impunity to carry out such patently illegal executions,
without notice, should shock its international partners into
action.”

————–

A funny Chris story: I remember the day in 1996 while on
vacation in San Francisco, I took in a WWF house show at the
Cow Palace, not so much to see WWF…but mostly to see the
historic wrestling venue which had featured Roy Shire’s
northern California promotion with names like Pat Patterson,
Leo Nomellini, and Ray Stevens. So I’m standing around the
parking lot, waiting for the doors to open with the locals
and kids milling around…and a car screeches to a stop, and
goes into rapid reverse.

The door opens, and it’s Chris and Tammy (who had already
broken up in storyline, but even the kids in the parking lot
knew better to ask) with a collective “What are YOU doing
here!? We said our hellos and they drove into the building.
Until the doors to the Cow Palace opened, I then had to
listen to at least a hundred kids screeching at me without
end…”You know Sunny?”. I can visualize Chris to this day
laughing his ass off as they pulled away to go into the
wrestler’s entrance at the Cow Palace for the night’s show.

As I type this, Chris is sitting somewhere with the late
promoter Dennis Coraluzzo, sharing the first of a hundred
glasses of Dennis’s infamous ice teas, listening to one of
Dennis’s newest schemes (and probably thinking up one or two
of his own)… with a big grin on his face. He’s hanging out
later with Brian Hildebrand and Eddie Gilbert to watch what
will no doubt be the first of a hundred wrestling matches
they watch today.

Chris you were unforgettable then, and are still. Rest well.

Until next time…

AS I SEE IT 4/23: Are (not as many of) you experienced?

For those of you who read this blog, and are still fanboys
or apologists for WWE and tell people like me that Vince
McMahon is always right, I have one question for you:

“Viking Experience”?!? “VIKING EXPERIENCE”!?!?! WWE named
the Tag Team Champions of its third brand NXT, The War
Raiders… “The Viking Experience”?!?! WWE named Tag Team
Champions after something that sounds like a new ride at Six
Flags Great Adventure? Hell,
I can see the commercial complete with little bald Mr. Six
dancing along them (if you don’t live near a Six Flags park,
Google him).

Worse still, the other alternative was apparently The
Berzerkers (same as the cartoonish John Nord character).

There’s still been no definitive reason for why this took
place. One story claimed that Vince McMahon hates the word
“war” and finds it archaic and barbaric. The other suggested
that Comcast/USA has an issue with “war”, which begs the
question why The Shield were sometimes referred to on air as
The Dogs of War, or why Ember Moon referred to as the War
Goddess. There was still another that McMahon “simply didn’t
like the name”, despite it having existed for months and
months in NXT.

Usually when you go to WWE social media, there’s always
SOMEONE defending any decision they’ve made, no matter how
silly it might seem to most. Not this time. There were
literally hundreds, if not thousands, of fans complaining.

The usual reply after I make such a complaint is to show me
how much money WWE is making, their stock prices, and how
much the new TV contracts plus the Saudi deals are earning
for the company. Understand something…all that revenue is
dependent upon TV ratings and a successful product. When
it’s hard to find anyone defending them about a
decision…on their own social media…that tells you
something.

Decisions like this are symbolic of the perception by many
that WWE is losing touch. As a result, viewers and fans have
been steadily losing interest in the product. It isn’t just
perception. It’s seen in real numbers of real viewers, and
it’s important to take a look at those numbers and the year
to year loss in interest that they represent.

Statistics are in format of Date/Viewers/+ or – previous
week/2018 stats/2017 stats

RAW numbers

1/7 2.324/+356,000/2.766/2893
1/14 2.722/+398,000/3.250/3.263
1/21 2.462/-260,000/4.530/3.284
1/28 2.703/+241,000/3.395/3.612
2/4. 2.509/-194,000/3.55/3.099
2/11 2.462/ -47,000/ 3.150/3.073
2/18. 2.771/+309,000/3.282/3.208
2/25 2.922/+151,000/3.180/3.093
3/4 2.783/-139,000/3.090/3.216
3/11 2.810/+27,000 3.352/3.232
3/18 2.695 -115,000/ 3.327/3.049
3/25 2.589/-106,000/3.367/3.292
4/1 2.639/+50,000/3.358/3.767
4/8 2.924/+275,000/3.921/3.429
4/15 2.665 /-259,000/ 3.622/3.346

Smackdown numbers

1/1 2.091/+187,000/ 2.720/2.596
1/8 2.032/-59,000/2.603/2533
1/15 2.143/+111,000/2.602/2652
1/22 2.142/-1,000/2.580/2556
1/29 2.137/-5,000/2.509/2.817
2/5 1.841/-296,000/2.505/2.627
2/12 2.034/+193,000/2.449/2626
2/19 2.269/+235,000/2.613/2795
2/26 2.150/-119,000/2.692/2.566
3/5 2.155/+5,000/2.590/2.738
3/12 2.198/+43,000/2771/2.628
3/19 2.208/+10,000/2.888/2.647
3/26 2.393/+185,000/2.576/2.698
4/2 2.141/ -252,000/2.467/2.885
4/9 2.199/+58,000/2.952/3.105
4/16 2.219/+20,000/2.796/2.544

The drop in weekly viewership numbers over a two year period
is scary. It can’t be explained away by cord-cutting or any
of the usual stock answers. It can’t all be explained away
by competition from the NFL, NBA, or NHL. It can only be
explained by weekly shows that feature a stale product style
fewer and fewer people want to see on a weekly basis, by not
having depended on certain lead characters over years…not
building replacement lead characters..and now struggling to
do so after the fact.

When you look at the above numbers, one thing has to jump
out at you. For all of 2019, WWE has yet to hit the 3
million mark for viewers, even during Wrestlemania season.
When Smackdown moves to FOX this fall, Ot should be clear
that FOX isn’t going to settle for those kind of numbers.

If numbers disappoint, Smackdown runs the risk of being
moved from the major achievement of their programming on a
broadcast outlet… to FS1…a cable outlet with far smaller
numbers than USA Network, their current home. Obviously, Fox
will do a lot of advertising for Smackdown Live, and has
already started doing so on NASCAR races this season. Ads
run on FOX’s NFL slate of games beginning this September
will be a great help as well. But in the end, all the
advertising in key spots imaginable won’t help if fans don’t
have a reason to tune in.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

AS I SEE IT 4/16: Wrestling days of future past?

This week, a look at the future in wrestling…and a
reminder of an wrestling anniversary from the past, and how
two such seemingly different events might relate.

First, The Fight Oracle reported last Thursday that Turner
Sports plans to present All Elite Wrestling at their
upcoming upfronts as part of a presentation for their
advertisers. The upfronts are scheduled for May 15. For
those who don’t know, in the US television industry, an
upfront is a gathering at the start of important advertising
sales periods; spring’s usually being held in the third week
of May. Upfronts are held by all major TV networks, and
attended by TV executives, as well as major advertisers and
media; to allow marketers to buy television commercial
airtime “up front” before the traditional fall television
season begins.

Other sites and sources have reported that the two parties
are in advanced negotiations, but nothing has been signed
yet.

While All Elite Wrestling and Warner/Turner have not
confirmed this report, it would seem credible, as TBS/TNT
would be the most logical option for AEW with their
associated B/R (Bleacher Report) Live pay streaming
services, which airs programming like UEFA Champions League
and Europa League football (soccer), NBA League Pass,
National Lacrosse League, ONE Championship (MMA). The Khan
Family had suggested that they wanted a streaming component
for any potential television partner, as well as for
upcoming PPVs.

As for reminder of that wrestling anniversary, it was 22
years ago this weekend that ECW presented Barely Legal, the
PPV that ECW fans had waited for since the last year’s worth
of rumors had started, finally arrived on April 13, 1997.
Even with the usual pre-show atmosphere at the ECW
Arena…this was something special. Fans waited outside the
ECW Arena from early on that morning. The Arena was filled
as full as physical space would allow, well beyond anything
permitted by city or state fire laws. The atmosphere was
electric.

At 8:00 pm ET, in the converted Bingo Hall that staff had
painted and fixed up on their own, down the street by a
bargain basement store and vacant buildings… the home of a
wrestling promotion founded by a downtown storefront
pawnbroker, started with little more than hopes and
dreams… the impossible dream came true, as Barely Legal
went hot and started the era of ECW on PPV to the United
States. The show itself included The Eliminators vs. ECW Tag
champs D-Von/Bubba Ray Dudley for the ECW Tag team Titles,
Rob Van Dam-Lance Storm, Taz vs. Sabu, Great Sasuke/Gran
Hamada/Masato Yakushiji vs. TAKA Michinoku/Dick Togo/Terry
Boy (aka Mens Teioh), and Terry Funk vs. Raven for the ECW
Heavyweight Title.

What do these two seemingly different things have go do with
each other? ECW, in its nine years of existence, changed the
wrestling business (whatever you may think of it). But ECW
saw, for the first time in wrestling, active fan involvement
during the infancy of the Internet to promote a company. As
wrestling fans used websites, and especially the new concept
of online fan message boards…fans networked to actively
promote the product of a wrestling company for the first
time. ECW was also a start-up before such a word really
existed, going from a small independent running shows on
bars and high school gyms seeking to go to a national
platform.

As I’ve said before in this blog, promoters have a love/hate
relationship with smart marks, wrestling sites and social
media, and any discussion of their product they can’t
control. But this was one case where a promotion largely
welcomed such help (even if they hated critical comments as
much as if not more than WCW and WWF) given the shoestring
budget they operated under.

Now, All Elite Wrestling looks to potentially be another
game changer within wrestling using the newest forms of
online technology in 2019, with the Being The Elite online
reality show marketing to smart marks…and promoted
actively (some day fanatically) by the same using the
technology known as social media. That Being The Elite show
and an online conversation with Dave Meltzer started a
series of events which produced the first sell out of a
major US wrestling venue by the independently run effort
called ALL IN.

ALL IN, in turn, became a actual startup promotion, All
Elite Wrestling, with the financial backing of the
billionaire Khan family.

There are similarities and differences. Both have used
online technology of the time to promote their idea and
their product, and depended on fans to do some of the
legwork. Both are start-ups wanting to take wrestling in a
different direction from the stagnant scene of their time.
Both have a talent roster of note.

They are different in the sense of AEW having funding that
didn’t even exist in Paul Heyman’s wildest fantasies. It
also has a smart owner who has a track record of developing
successful sports franchises (the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars
and English Premier League’s Fulham FC as well as TruMedia
Networks, a pioneer of another new sports, sports analytics.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

AS I SEE IT 4/9: The long day’s journey into night and into the next day

 

Well, the long day’s journey into night and into the next
day called Wrestlemania is history.

After all the overbooked women’s main event matches, the
questionable racial elements to storyline builds, the RAWs
that seem to last longer than last night/this morning’s
Wrestlemania….what appears by most to be a successful
Wrestlemania has been completed only hours ago.

No screwing around with the finishes many hoped for (except
for a few Bayley and Sasha or Brock Lesnar fans, perhaps).
We got the happy ending with the Kofi Kingston-Daniel Bryan
match that seemed scheduled awfully early in the show.

Perhaps WWE was bound and determined to have the Women’s
Main Event as the go-home feel good finish no matter what,
even if the biggest crowd reaction of the night was for the
Kingston win. There IS that Saudi show (now postponed until
June) to be able to plausibly deny to the mainstream media
by using a women’s main event to “show their commitment to
women”.

But that’s to come…because the real life intrusion into
Wrestlemania I thought might come from the Kofi angle or
media finally noticing the Saudi-WWE marriage was alive and
well and ready to produce yet another mega-million payoff
for a blood money show headlined by the
Undertaker…actually came from somewhat out of nowhere
from John Oliver on his Last Week Tonight HBO March 31 show.

In a story that for the first 2 minutes sounded like fanboy
city (Oliver is an admitted fan) Oliver then got dead
serious, first making clear how large a legitimate business
WWE is and it’s corporate worth (and Vince McMahon’s), then
attacking WWE’s independent contractor/ employee fairy tale.
The piece pointed out in involved detail how US law applies
to employees and to independent contractors; and how by any
objective standards, WWE is clearly violating them to avoid
providing them with health insurance (and worse, requiring
talent to have their own health insurance), paid retirement,
Social Security payments, as well as follow discrimination
and occupational health/safety laws.

WWE talent clearly sign full-time exclusive contracts (not
permitted by law) and cannot take outside work (not
permitted by law), are restricted in the types of
endorsements and outside endeavors they can promote (also
not permitted by law). US law states independent contractors
are supposed to work “when and for whom he or she chooses.”
That’s obviously far from the case with WWE (with the
exception of part timers).

Oliver went as far as to say that “…while the character
Vince is an assh%$e, it’s important to know that the real
Vince is also an assh%$e…many fans legitimately hate him,
because while the WWE has made him a billionaire, many
wrestlers say he’s treated them terribly.” He pointed out
that in days past when wrestlers worked for several
different promotions, they could in fact be called
contractors, but not now under the conditions WWE places
upon their talent.

Oliver’s piece then went into the high death toll wrestlers
suffer, citing examples both in and out of WWE as well as
the overall death rate of wrestlers, and made the point that
rate is worse than even the NFL. He went so far as to say:
“Even the NFL, for all its massive faults, now offers
players health reimbursement accounts and has established a
legacy fund for older players who may be dealing with health
issues,” Oliver said. “And when you’ve lost the moral high
ground to the f%$king NFL, you are morally subterranean.”

WWE tried to dismiss Oliver with the following statement in
response: “John Oliver is clearly a clever and humorous
entertainer, however the subject matter covered in his WWE
segment is no laughing matter. Prior to airing, WWE
responded to his producers refuting every point in his one-
sided presentation. John Oliver simply ignored the facts.
…The health and wellness of our performers is the single
most important aspect of our business, and we have a
comprehensive, longstanding Talent Wellness program. ”

But the points Oliver made are valid. It also isn’t his
first time talking about WWE, with the first piece attacking
WWE going ahead with Crown Jewel despite the murder of
journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

So like I said last week, reality does intrude into the
fantasy world…even the one called Wrestlemania. Count on
it not being the last time either.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

AS I SEE IT 4/2: When reality inserts itself into your fantasy

It’s the wrestling week of the year, but one of the bigger
stories concerning the McMahon family has nothing whatever
to do with WWE’s annual wrestling long day’s journey into
night…and into the next day… called Wrestlemania.

First reported by Politico.com, and confirmed Friday, Linda
McMahon resigned from her position as the Administrator of
the Small Business Administration, a position in the
Presidential Cabinet. McMahon will be playing a major
fundraising role for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-
election campaign.

Such a move is not entirely a surprise, as the entire
McMahon family has had a longtime relationship with Donald
Trump, all the way back to Wrestlemanias being held at the
now former Trump Plaza, not to mention Trump’s involvement
at WrestleMania 23 with Vince McMahon. After Linda’s
nomination at Administrator of the SBA, the entire McMahon
family visited the White House in early 2017.

But at the same time, WWE made a conscious decision not to
mention Donald Trump, to involve the real life relationship
with Trump in storylines, or even to bring up his name;
largely as a business strategy. Face it, Trump opponents and
supporters both buy WWE Network and PPVs, merchandise, live
event tickets. They also serve as sponsors and advertisers.

Given all that, if I were Vince McMahon, I’d have
wished…maybe even prayed…that my wife and Donald Trump
could have waited until a day or two after Mania to announce
this.

WWE runs the real risk of being asked about this far more
than once during Wrestlemania media week at a time when
their sole priority is to get over Wrestlemania, the Hall of
Fame, NXT Takeover, and the many community and charitable
events that take place every Wrestlemania weekend…not
discuss 2020 Presidential politics. Those questions won’t
likely happen on appearances made on the NBC family of
networks, which have already started…but there are
hundreds of others of other events over the next six days
where those rules may not apply.

There is more than a little anecdotal evidence of people who
stopped watching and attending WWE shows, when it got out
that Vince and Linda donated $7 million to the 2016 Trump
campaign. That disclosure came after Trump took office, and
the heat from it eventually did die down. Since Linda
McMahon is going to either be in the leadership of, or
outright run Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election fundraising,
such an effect could well be longer lasting because she’ll
be doing that fundraising for the next nineteen months.

Standard wisdom is that wrestling fans won’t do anything
when they complain about everything from storylines to real
life events…”as always”. But real events and real numbers
show this standard wisdom to not be so standard, and
“always” not to be always.

Two years in a row now, outside forces have become involved
right before Wrestlemania.

Witness last year’s attempt to name the inaugural Women’s
Battle Royal at the Wrestlemania the Fabulous Moolah Battle
Royal. The way Moolah treated those she trained had always
been at best an open secret. In an age where information is
available at everyone’s fingertips, it was no secret to
anyone. At best, Moolah exploited those who worked and
trained with her financially. But in 2018, allegations of
physical and sexual abuse came out that were far more
damaging.

Fan petitions to WWE to reverse the move went up overnight,
with one gathering more than 10,000 signatures. When a fan
campaign was started on Twitter to contact WrestleMania 34
sponsor Mars Wrigley Confectionery US (parent company of
Snickers), things moved quickly.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery US issued a statement: “We were
recently made aware of the World Wrestling Entertainment
Inc’s (WWE) decision to honor a former wrestler during the
upcoming WrestleMania 34 event. As a principle-based
business that has long championed creating inclusive
environments that encourage and empower everyone to reach
their full potential, this is unacceptable. We are engaging
with the WWE to express our disappointment.”

In short order, WWE responded: “After further consideration,
we believe it’s best to proceed with the name ‘WrestleMania
Women’s Battle Royal.’ What remains most important is that
this historic match is part of WWE’s unwavering commitment
to the Women’s Division.”

In short, Mars, Inc. threatened to pull their sponsorship if
WWE didn’t reverse the decision, and that was due to fan
pressure, a fact that Stephanie McMahon acknowledged, if
indirectly.

More recent and more notable is what happened approaching
the most recent WWE Saudi Arabia show, Crown Jewel. After
the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the direction at the very
Saudi Crown Prince with whom WWE negotiated their mega-
million deal, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, WWE’s decision to
go ahead with the show saw 50,000 subscribers drop WWE
Network in the period immediately afterward, at least in
part because of the decision.

For a company who is so into control that they banned
legitimate media from using words like “wrestler” at the
press conference announcing next year’s Wrestlemania in
Tampa, FL, negative real world news is impossible to control
like a press conference and WWE’s bizarre rules of wrestling
jargon (including the very word wrestling itself). What will
happen as a result of Mrs. McMahon taking this role remains
to be seen.

But the real world and real world events don’t avoid WWE’s
little self contained bubble and may well not this time
either.

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

AS I SEE IT 3/25: The Kofi saga..and a risky game

Remember my complaint that WWE was overbooking their angles
going into Wrestlemania, specifically with the Ronda Rousey-
Becky Lynch-Charlotte Flair storyline? Well, here we go
again with the Kofi Kingston storyline, and where things
went last Tuesday night.

It was set up that Kingston had to run a gauntlet match (a
match that took almost the entire second hour) and defeat
Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Kingston
successfully ran the gauntlet. Big E, Xavier Woods the crowd
and viewers celebrated, but then Vince McMahon pulled one
more swerve, and introduced Champion Daniel Bryan as his
final opponent. As we all know, Bryan defeated Kingston
after hitting Kingston with the Busaiku knee for the pinfall
after several near falls teasing a happy ending.

If an overbooked story arc wasn’t bad enough, it’s pretty
clear it seems clear WWE is playing the race card with it,
as witnessed by an on-air promo two weeks ago with a passing
reference by The New Day to “people who look like us” and
Vince McMahon referring to Big E and Xavier Woods as “young
bucks” (and no, he wasn’t referring to the Jacksons)…which
bordered on it already. But when I suggested that to friends
after those two comments, I was told I was overanalyzing.

Well, this past Wednesday a tweet/video by Big E. used code
phrases about how “people like us will only get so far” and
that “people like us, historically, and moving forward
clearly, can only go so far” and “clearly, we are never
meant to be more than this” removed any doubt.

Even with all the reality based social media posts and
promos being used to build Wrestlemania, using the race card
as a dramatic device is playing a dangerous game. People
tune in to wrestling to get away from real life, and the
very real racial divide the current Administration has been
helping worsen. Not to mention playing the race card gets
advertisers and sponsors very nervous. That isn’t what WWE
needs, especially when they’ll be getting mainstream heat
for their next Saudi show after Mania on May 3. , which WWE
will HAVE to officially announce shortly after Wrestlemania.
Despite not being announced officially, its sure enough that
The Undertaker will be making the trip to Saudi Arabia.

As for the Kofi angle and how they’re playing it, WWE has
made their decision on this story line and will have to deal
with the consequences, if any.

One story line item WWE hasn’t thought of in this is that
Daniel Bryan, both in and out of character is shown as a
liberal and environmentalist. He’s shown as a heel
environmentalist on TV, and as a liberal on WWE Total Divas,
with wife Brie. How does this square with the guy who’s OK
with “Mister McMahon” denying a black wrestler an
opportunity? Best way to tie up that loose end is to have
Kofi call him a hypocrite as part of the inevitable promo
directed at Vince McMahon tomorrow night.

That promo will have to be part of one of the only two ways
out of the corner WWE painted themselves into last week.
Those two ways I can see this going tomorrow night are a
“strike” with Smackdown talent threatening not to work
Smackdown or not work Wrestlemania (see RAW strike 2011) or
an “Occupy Smackdown” (see Daniel Bryan, RAW 2014) in order
to force Vince McMahon’s hand…both rehashes. Logically,
Kofi Kingston has to then get his match at Wrestlemania. He
also needs to win, because any kind of screw job will create
big issues with a New York crowd, who won’t hesitate to make
clear what they think..

Until next time…

To contact me, email me at bobmagee1@hotmail.com or
bobmagee856@gmail.com.

WWE’s Alexa Bliss Being Wasted

Alexa Bliss WWE

Alexa Bliss WWE

WWE’s Alexa Bliss is being wasted, and been on a terrible decline since suffering a concussion at the hands of Raw’s Ronda Rousey in September.

Not a physical decline.

Just a decline in every aspect of her WWE career.

WWE’s inability to use Alexa for the past six months has stunned Bliss fans, who have grown accustomed to seeing Alexa on top of the Raw (and Smackdown divisions).

And that has to change.

No more bullsh** peddling about Alexa Bliss being the host of WrestleMania this year.

We want her to jump to Smackdown and challenge Asuka. Thoughts? Hit me up below!

 

AS I SEE IT 3/18: Wrestlemania week – Indy style

Well, it’s that time of year again: Wrestlemania and
Wrestlemania week. Every year, independent wrestling
promotions use the weekend to showcase their companies and
style of product. This year, companies from Canada, Germany,
and the UK are coming over to join the fun. Since PWBTS and
this blog try to talk about independent wrestling when and
wherever possible (meaning other than WWE), what I’ll write
about is limited to those events.
(more…)
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